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Full text of "An eulogy on the illustrious character of the late General George Washington, commander in chief of all the armies of the United States of America...Delivered at Ipswich, on the 7th day of January, 1800"

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Mr. F R I S B I E's 

A N 

E U L O G Y 




General Ceorge tESaaa&tngton, 


Who died on Saturday, the 1 4tL of December, 1 799. 

Delivered at Ipfwich, on the -yth day of January. 1800. 


Minifter of the Gofpel in the fir ft parifh of faid to\vn. 

The. Righteous Jhall bt in ever lofting remembrance. 


He mourns the dead, who lives as they defire. 



General WASHINGTON'S parental and affectionate 
ADDRESS to his Country, declining their future 
fuffrages for the Prefidency. 

Printed at Newburyport, by EDMUND M. BLUNT, 1800. 


THE authors, of whofe affiftance the compofer of 
tbe following Eulogy has availed himfelf, are Doftors 
Morfe, Ramfey, Young and Mefllre Flechier. He has 
marked the ideas, cited from thefe authors in their own 
words, with inverted commas ; but if the reader fhould 
meet with other thoughts, as probably he may, felected 
from the fame authors, but clothed in the compofer's 
own language, and accomodated to his iubject, he will 
give due credit for them to their original owners. The 
paffages cited from the immortal WafhingtQi!* writings 
needed nothing to diftinguifh them but their own fupe- 
?jor merit. 


general George 

II. CHRON. xxxvth Chap. 24th and 25th verfes. 

And till Judah and Jerujalem mourned for Jofiah, and Jtrt- 
iniah lamented for jfojiah, and all the finging men and finding wo- 
men fpake of jfojiah in their lamentations to this day. 

JL HEIR mourning and lamentation were a fuita- 
ble precedent for us on this fadly folemn occafion. The 
wifeft, the beft and moft amiable of men, like Jofiah, 
though their friends and countrymen vvifli and pray ever 
fo earneflly for their continuance, cannot live here for- 

IT is the prerogative of Him who reigns in the Hea- 
vens, and governs all the dates and kingdoms of the 
earth, to raife up men of eminent talents and virtues to 
blefs the countries to which they belong ; and it is his 
prerogative to remove them at his pleafure, as a correc- 
tion for the errors and vices of their countrymen ; and 
to teach them the vanity and uncertainty of thofe riches, 
honors and pleafures, they fo fondly purfue. When 
men of fuch excellent characters are given to a people, 
it is their duty to acknowledge the diftinguifhing gift of 
heaven with gratitude and praife ; and when they are 
torn from them by a fudden and furprifin;* ftroke, it be- 


comes-them to lament the' lofs ' of fuch eminent bene- 
factors with a forrow and humiliation, as deep and ex- 
tenfivc as the frown of heaven, and the lofs they have 
fuflained. What words have then an emphafis fufficient 
to exprefs the gratitude we owe to God for the gift of a 
WASHINGTON, and the anguifli and lamentation of 
our country that its illujtrious Friend and Father is no 
more f Yes, he was the Father of our country ; raifcd 
up by the hand of gracious heaven to affift the birth, to 
nourifh the infancy, to direct and defend the childhood 
of our new born empire : but alas ! he is removed from 
his charge and left us, as deftitute orphans to bewail our 
unfpeakable lofs ! And yet he is not loft j he lives, he 
greatly lives in the benefit and glory of his actions, in 
the veneration and affection of his grateful countrymen, 
and will live in the records of fame as long as liberty and 
virtue fhall be relpected and admired. The fragrant 
odour of his memory fhall flow down the current of fu- 
ture generations, till they are loft in the ocean of eter- 

SHALL we not then, while we deeply deplore the me- 
lancholy event, be permitted to confole the forrow of 
qur hearts, and illumine the fable cloud of our afflictions 
by contemplating his illuftrious talents and virtues, cele- 
brating the praife of his eminent and glorious fervices and 
achievments, and holding him up to view as an example 
to all who are ambitious to excel, as a model for War- 
riors, for Statefmen and Magiftrates through all ages, in 
our own country and throughout the world ? 


( 7 ) 

To aflift your minds in thefe fadly folemn, but highly 
ufef ul reflections, is the talk affigned me on this interefting 
occafion A tafk how honorable ! and yet how delicate, 
how arduous; and, I had almofl faid, how ufelefs ? For 
who is not acquainted with the deeds, the virtues of a 
Wafhinston ? Whofe heart and mouth is not filled with 


his praife ? Yet why mould it be deemed arduous and 
difficult to dojuftice to his merit, for who can think of 
his virtues and not catch from their influence fuch an in- 
Ipiration, as well render him eloquent in Eulogiums to 
his memory ? Certainly * no fubject was ever more fuf- 
ceptible of a folid and fublime eloquence than the Life 
and the Death" of THE GREAT, the immortal 
FORCES. " In what perfonage did ever the effects 
of moral, military, and political virtue fhine with 
greater fplendor, than in this renowned Chief ? How 
ftrikingly were they exhibited in the formation and con- 
dud of armies, in bold encounters, honorable retreats 
and hard fought battles -, in conquering his enemies by 
force, or wafting away their flrength and numbers by 
patience and addrefs ;" in accepting, with a becoming 
diffidence, the higheft offices his country could beftow, 
in filling them with dignity, wifdom and fidelity, in re- 
figning them with modefty and moderation, in counfel- 
ing and advifing the officers and fubjects of government 


( 8 ) 

to a courfe of conduct mofl wifely adapted to fecure their 
liberty, their harmony, virtue, dignity and profperity to 
the remoteft generations ? " Where can we find another 
fo liberal, fo difinterefted, fo devoted to the glory and 
happinefs ot his country ; fo great in adverfity by his 
courage, in profperity by his medefly, in difficulties by 
his prudence, in dangers by his valour, and in religion by 
his piety ?" But no pen, no tongue^ but his own, could do 
juftice to his merits ; yet thefe were always as filent in his 
own praifes, as they are at this melancholy moment. 
Let then his works, and his writings fpeak his juft praifes, 
thefe will be found the trueft mirrour of his virtue, and 
his fame. Let as contemplate our beloved Hero enga- 
ged in the arduous labours of the cabinet and the field. 
But thefe are fo vaft, fo complicated in their number 
and variety, that we know not where to begin, or where 
we fhall be able to end 

LET us then recur to the time and the place at which 
he made his entrance on the ftage of the world. The 
parifh of Wafhington in the county of Weftmoreland, 
and ftate of Virginia, was the favoured fpot, which, on 
the lith of February old flyle, in the year 1732, gave 
birth to our illuftrious Hero. Yes, he was a. pure Ame- 
rican ; he was born in our country ; his genius, his virtues, 
his actions, are all our own 

AT an early age, he was deprived of his father's patron- 
age, and the kind attention of his eldeft brother, by their 
death, and left an object of watchful care and tendernefs 


< 9 ) 

to an affectionate mother. His genius needed ndt, iikfi 
thofe of an inferior grade, the labored inftrudions, dif- 
cipline and ftimulus of a public univerfity, to call forth 
its energies, and ripen its improvement. Under the nur- 
turing care of a private tutor, his active and penetrating 
mind was able to acquire thofe principles and rudiments 
of knowledge and fcience, which were neceifary to pre- 
pare him for the difcharge of thofe high and important 
offices, he was, hereafter, to fu (lain. What though he 
\vas not mailer of the language of Greece or of Rome 5 
he was matter of virtues and accomphlhments fuperior 
to the nobleft of their fans 

WHEN he was 15 years of age he entered as midlhip- 
man on board a Britifli veflel ot war, but was prevented 
taking pofleffion of the'ftation he had obtained, by thsr 
averfion of his mother to a profefllon fo unfavourable to 
his morals and his life. Thus an Omnijdent Providence 
prevented his becoming a fkillful artift in hurling that 
Britifh thunder, againft whofe bolts, he was deftined to 
defend the lives and liberties of his countrymen. Hav- 
ing a firm and enterprizing foul, united to a healthful 
and vigorous body, neither corrupted nor inervated by 
the vices and exceffes of youth, he was fitted to perform 
the duties, and endure the hardlhipsofa life, devoted ta 
the fafety, the happinefs and glory of his country 

IN the year 17^3, when he wss but little more than 
.21 yars of age, he accepted and executed a miffion tc 

B treat 

treat with the French and Indians at Fort Du Quefne, 
and to remonftrate to the former againlt their encroach- 
ments upon the lands of our now weftern territory. To 
accomr)Rh this miffion, he had to pafs a wild and howl- 
ing wildernefs for feveral hundred miles, bcfet with ia- 
vage beafts and more favage men ; and to guard againfl 
the attacks of violence, and the arts of negociation; but 
with a con r cioufncfs of his own integrity, a modeft con- 
fidence in his own abilities, and a humble reliance on the 
protection of divine Providence, lie " executed the duties 
of a miffion, fo arduous and difficult, with fingular in- 
duftry, intelligence and addrefs" 

IN the year 175;, we meet with our beloved Hero 
making a more confpicuous entrance on the theatre of 
war ; a theatre on which he was defiined to fhine here- 
after with fuch diftinpuifhed glory. He be2;an morede- 

. ' O J O 

cidedly to improve his mind in the practical knowledge 
of military fer vice in the office of Colonel of the Virginia 
provincial troop?, under the orders and difcipline of Ge- 
neral Braddock. This gentleman was Britifh comman- 
der of an expedition n^ainft the French forces at a pod 
lince denominated Fort Pitr ; and though ikillfu! in the ici- 
enceand practice of war, he unvvariiy fell into an ambuf- 
cade near the banks of the river Monongahela. He 
immediate'y drew up his troops in.clofe order of battle. 
thereby expofing them, in open view, to the deadly fire 
of His enemicr, foncca'cd and kcurcd behind the logs 
and trees of the foreft ; whr, !r!M.'J; far inferior in num- 

bers to his own forces, cut them down by hundreds and 
by thoufancls, and left them to lie unburied in the ranks 
in which they fell a prey to favage beads, and a perpetual 
monument of the utter infufficiency of a commander 
who does not unite in his charade r prudence with cou 
rage, judgment and fagacity with the art of war. 

COL. Wafhington had the prudence and courage to 
defend the fhattered remains of the routed army againft 
the further attacks of their enemy, and to conduct their 
retreat to a ftation of fafety. And he doubtlefs had the 
vvildom to profit by this fatal inftance of inattention and 
temerity in his genera!, and to bear it on his mind, as 
an affeclif^g caution to be forever on his guard againft 
fuch a difittrous lurprize and defeat. No inftance, it is 
prefumed, can be found in the whole lerics of his mili- 
tary operations, in which he prefenteJ an advantage to 
his enemy, by unguarded (ecurity or intemperate ram- 
nefs. He knew when to advance and when to retire. 
No hazards or labours could deter him from engaging 
an enemy, when warranted by wifdom and prudence : 
No provocations of his enemy, no cenfure from his pro- 
fefled friends, no dread of diihonour to his military cha- 
racter, could impel him to rifque a battle againft the 
dictates of his own enlightened judgment : his foes might 
defeat his troops, but could never fubdue their General : 
they might force him to retire, but could never take 
him by furprize. It was by a firm and refolute perfeve- 
rancc in this line of conduct, that hejuftiy acquired the 

illuftrious title of the AMERICAN FABIUS. 


AND that we may be convinced how fully the truth 
qf thefe oblervations was verified in his practice, let us 
pafs over in filence the other paflages of his life, and 
ha lien to that eventful period, when he was chofen Com- 
iti Chief of all the American forces. 

HE was a member of the Congrefs which convened at 
Philadelphia on the icth of May, in the year 1775: a 
year forever cMfpicnous in the annals of American liberty. 
The f.vord of Britilh (laughter had already been drawn 
on the plains of Lexingron, and dyed its guilty blade in 
American blood. An army had been haftily affembled 
in the vicinity oi: Bofton, compofed of the hardy fons of 
liberty, whole courage, enthullaftic zeal for the freedom 
and iafety of their country, and their indignation againft 
its hwlefs invaders were to fupply the place of military 
experience, difcipline, and the complicated apparatus cf 
war. And foon after a detachment from this army gave 
to the Britons, at the battle of Bunker's hill, a terrible 
fpecimen of their obftinate valour, and taught them, by 
the: wide extended (laughter which laid wafte the flower 
of t'<uii- troops, to confider the mighty expence of blood 
and treafure, it would cofc them to conquer our country. 

THE appeal was now made to Heaven ; the fpirit of 
refiftance, through all the States, was blown to a flame, 
and the Congrefs was deliberating on the moft fuitable 
find ncceffary meafures to concentrate and direct its 
force, One of the moft obvious of which was the ap- 

( '3 ) 

pointment of a Commander in Chief. And GEORGE 
WASHINGTON, diftinguilhed by his eminent vir- 
tues and abilities, as the moft fui table perfon for fuch an 
arduous ftation, was, on the ijth of June, 1775, unani- 
moit/ly deBtd and appointed Commander in Chief of all the 
forces raifed> or to be raifed, for the defence of the colonies. 
And fuch was the public opinion of his virtues, that the 
choice was univerfally approved. 

BUT what muft have been the feelings of this great 
and good man at this awful crijis ? He was fully apprized 
of the great naval and military ftrength of Great Britain, 
the fkill and courage of her troops, and her boundlefs re- 
iources for war ; " he knew that her fleets rode miftrefs 
of the ocean, and that her flag had waved in triumph over 
the four quarters of the world." He knew that the A- 
mericans, though brave, were deficient in martial fkiil 
and experience, and almoft entirely deftitute of military 
(lores and the neceflary furniture for war. He knew 
that their armies muft be at fir ft but little Superior to an 
undisciplined rabble, and that a feries of months and 
perhaps years, and an infinite expenfe of labour, of pnti- 
cnce, and application muft be employed to form them 
to fuch difcipline, fubordination, and confidence as would 
enable them to take the field, with a profped of fuccefs, 
againft an army of veteran foes. He knew that if they 
mould fail of accomplishing the great objects of their 
conflict, the yoke of flavery might be riveted forever on 
the necks of his dear countrymen, and himfelf with his 


( 14 ) 

principal affociates in this arduous enterprize might pro- 
bably be facrificed to Britifh pelicy or reientment. What 
courage, therefore, what finiYhefs, what confidence in the 
juftice of liis caufe, what ardent afiedion for the liberty 
and fafety of his country, what reliance on the protection 
of Heaven, muft have infpired his bread, to induce him 
to accept a command fo full of difficulty, labour, and 
hazard ? But under the influence of thefe noble princi- 
ples, he did cheerfully accept it, though with unexampled 
tnodefty, as may appear from his reply to the Prchdent 
of Congrefs, announcing his appointment, in the follow- 
ing words: " Though I am, truly fenfible of the high 
honour done me in this appointment, yet I feel great dif- 
trefs from the confcioufnefs that my abilities and military 
experience may not be equal to the extenfive and im- 
portant truft. However, as the Congrels defire it, I 
will enter upon the momentous duty, and exert every 
power I pofiefs in their fervice, and in fupport of the 
Glorious Caufe." 

He proceeded to further exprefllons of a modeft con- 
fidence, but with a caution not to entertain too exalted 
expectations of his fuccefs, and then added : " As to pay, 
Sir, I beg leave to affure the Congrefs that, as no pe- 
cuniary confideration could have tempted me to accept 
this arduous employment at the expence of my domef- 
ticeafe and happinels, I do not wiQi to make any profit 
from it ; I will keep an exacl account of my expence?, 
thofe I doubt not they will difcharge, and that is all I 

( '5 ) 

In thefe effufions of a great and liberal mind, what an 
amiable combination do we f-e of magnanimity and mo- 
defty, of a generofity and courage, worthy of a Wafti- 


Immediately on receiving his commiflion, he repaired 
to Cambridge and took the command of the army, al- 
ready aiTembled at that place, and began to make fuch 
arrangements and regulations, as were neceffary to ren- 
der it refpectable and formidable to its enemies. And 
here he commenced in earneft the arduous courfe of his 
military operations, hazards and toils. Minutely to de- 
tail them, is neither neceflary nor poflible. But could I 
form a miniature picture of the whole, or could I caufe 
them to rife up to your view, and pafs in rapid fucceffion 
before your eyes, I might point out our indefatigable 
Hero on the heights of Charleftown, of Cambridge, of 
Roxbury, and Dorchefter ; on the latter I might fhevv 
you works riling in one night, like an exhalation from 
the earth, to the furprife and terror of his enemies. I 
might fliew you thefe enemies haftily evacuating the 
town of Boflon, and fpeeding their courfe to New- York. 
I might point out our watchful commander already at 
that pofl with his army, prepared to receive them, for- 
tifying, contending, retiring, oppreffed, but not dejected 
by difappointments and defeats I might prefent him to 
your wondering eyes, now fighting, and now retreating 
with mafterly addrefs beneath the covert of the night, 
and the mifty clouds of the morning, by which heaven 
Concealed his movements from the view of the enemy, 


C 6 ) 

nd exerting all the powers of his mighty foul to fave his 
army and his country from that utter deftruction, which 
fcemed juft ready to overwhelm them. I might invite 
you to notice the various emotions painted on his manly 
countenance, and the generous tear fwelling in his eye, 
when he faw his beloved foldiers fubje&ed to defeat, to 
capture, dejection and death. For his heart was full of 
ienfibility, and though his pafiions were never permitted to 
controul his judgment, to dethrone his realon, or to de- 
range the order and harmony of his foul ; yet, as be- 
came a moral and a chriflian hero, he indulged, as wif- 
dom and generofity prefcribcd, to the tender and benev- 
olent emotions and fympaihies of his heart. Ready, when- 
ever the duty of his ftation, and the importance of his 
object required it, to expofe his troops and himfelf to the 
labors and dangers of fighting and fatigue,yct was he never 
prodigal of their ftrengthor of their lives ; not a man of 
them was ever facrificed to his own perfonal honor or 
fame; not a drop of their blood was med but for the fervice 
and benefit of his country. His foldiers were his children 
and friends, they loved, they revered, they adored him 
as the beft of fathers, and the greateft of men. His 
voice was their oracle, and his word was their law Yet 
all their love and veneration for their leader, all their zeal 
for the liberty and happinefs of their country, could not 
always render them firm and undaunted in the face of 
their enemies Hence that ftorm of conflicting paflions, 
which, on his retreat from New-York, for a moment, 
harrowed up his foul, magnanimous as it was, when he 


( '7 ) 

law the dejection, the defertion, and diminution of his 
army, and beheld at one view the dreadful horrors which 
mud inevitably follow their total defeat and deftrudion. 
But this conflict was but the agonizing crFort of honor, 
courage, and patriotifm fuelling and draggling with 
mighty energy to drive back that formidable engine of 
hoftile power and violence which feeme'd ju d ready tof 
crum his beloved country - y and, when deferred by others, 
to rufh forward, and like another Sampfon, witli 
his own fingle arm, to make and tumble it td 
the ground, though at the hazard of burying hirhfelf 
in the wide-fpreading ruins of its fall. But how 
Toon did thefe paflbns fubfide into a calrri fub- 
miffion to the difpofals of Providence, and a determined 
refolution to defend thecaufe in which he had embarked 
to the lad extremity, and never to defert it, while one 
man could be found to aflid him in its fupport ? fo that 
when he was alked where he mould make a (land ? he 
coolly, but fignifkantly replied, " Beyond the Allegany 
mountains, if we are not able to do it before" Behold 
him, therefore, retreating through the Jerfeys with an 
handful of troops, deditute of tents, of cloathing and of 
almod every convenience neceffary to mield them from 
the rigid feverities of the fealon ; their undiod, wounded 
feet marking their footdeps with blood ; (corned by 
their enemies, deferted by their friends, and ready to be 
overwhelmed with an ocean of furrounding evils and en- 
emies ; yet under the preffure of this mighty load of 
complicated fufferings and dangers, his heart /'; ajlranger 



to timidity cr dtfpair. Confcious of the rectitude and 
purity of his own principles, confident in the juftice and 
magnitude of his caufe, and relying on the protection of 
that providence, which had hitherto preferved himfelf 
and his country from utter ruin ; he waited, in the em- 
ployment of every practicable meafure, and every pofiible 
exertion, for the favourable moment which fhould arreft 
and roll back the headlong current of his affairs. 

AND beheld that favourable moment is happily real- 
ized when, on the 25111 of December, '76, our immor- 
tal Commander^ having recruited and marmaled his little 
army on the Pennfylvania bank of the river Delaware, 
recrofles that river, clogged with ice, in the darknefs of 
the night, and in the very teeth of the cold driving tem- 
ped of fnow and hail, attacks, kills and captures above 
nine hundred Heffians Rationed at Trenton, and retires 
with his prifoneis in fafety and triumph ! Behold, a few 
days after, the enemy coming down upon him, at the 
fame Trenton, like an angry lion, feeming to have en- 
circled him within the grafp of his paws, and lying down 
to reft for the n'ght, fecure of his prey, when tlie cold 
piercing wind of favouring heaven blowing from the 
north and congealing the fpongy earth to the hardnefs of 
a pavement beneath the feet of his troops, (for the ele- 
ments fought for fflajhitigton) he, with a mafterly addrefs, 
by a fecret, rapid and circuitous march, gains the rear 
of the enemy, attacks, defeats and captures their troops 
at Princeton, and retires in fafety, before the enemy, 
amazed and embarrafTed, could arrive to revenge the un- 
cxpeded dif after ! Iw 

( 19 ) 

IN this rencounter, our valiant hero delayed a Ipirit 
of daring intrepidity apparently bordering on raQmefs, 
by expofing his life, in a critical moment when his troops 
b?gan to give way, to the mod imminent danger ; but 
well he knew, that it would be no temerity to hazard a 
life, however precious, at iuch an interefling crifis, when 
a failure of fuccefs would render it ufelefs to his country, 
and liable to be doomed a facrificc to an ignominious 
fate The deadly balls of the enemy, being turned afide 
by an invilible hand from bis bread, drove on with in- 
dignant fury and pierced the gallant bofom of the much 
lamented Mercer. 

THESE brilliant operations and fucceffes, though by 
no means decifive, yet furprifed and confounded the ene- 
my, and were to the army and the country like life from 
the dead And by letting in motion the fprings of uni- 
verfal activity and enterprize, produced confequences of 
the utmoft utility and importance. 

BUT all thefe confequences did not immediately fol- 
low. For, in the fucceeding year of '77, at Brandywine, 
at Gernuntown, at Ticonderoga, and at other places, 
which need not be mentioned, defeat and dilaftcr at- 
tended the operations of our arms. 

FOR the character and example of our beloved hero 
were not to be rompleated by a fhort courfe of victories 
and fuccefles, and then to fink, like a blazing meteor, 


( 20 ) 

into the (hades of darknefs and oblivion. His divine 
rpafter was forming him in the (chool of adverfity to -a 
fpirit of refignation, patience and piety, preparing him to 
aA a part of: diftinguiilied dignity andufefulnefs in future 
eminent flations, and to exhibit a fhining example of vir- 
tue and goodnefs to warriors and ftatefmen, and even to 
perfons of every rank in life, to all future generations 
In the greateft extremity of his misfortunes, and the low- 
ed depth of his dipreflion, Congrefs was fo intirely fatis- 
ficd with his abilities and conduct, and placed fuch a per- 
fect reliance on the wif-Jom, vigour and uprightnefs of 
his principles and operations, that they vefted him with 
powers, the moft ample, compleat, and exter.five in re- 
gard to the appointments, arrangements and proceedings 
necdTiiry to the profecution of the war This ponder- 
ous weight of care and refponfibility he willingly atium- 
ed with a fingle view, as we have the fulled reafon to 
believe, to the prefervation and eftablifhment of the lib- 
erty and independence of his country And hence it was 
that, far fuperior to thofe ignoble paflions of envy and 
regard to perional honour and appiaufe, which have 
fometimes had too much influence on minds, otherwile, 
in a degree, great and generous, he rejoiced in the fuc- 
cefs and victory of generals acting at a diftance under 
his own orders, or thofe of Congrefs, as cordially as if 
they had been his own With what gladnefs did he hear 
that the coo!, fteady, and fagacious courage and conduct 
of General Green, had contended againR his noble antag- 
pnift with fuch energy and effect, as to leave him only 


the empty name and honor of a victory, without per- 
mitting him to reap any folid advantages from it ? With 
what lively fatisfaction and triumph did he welcome the 
intelligence, that, the northern army under the direction 
of General Gates, infpired by the headlong courage of 
Arnold, and the difpaffionate intrepidity of Lincoln, had 
been crowned with the compleat fuccefs of capturing 
General Burgoyne with his whole army ? Perhaps his 
generous heart fwelled not with more grateful emotions 
at the decided iuperiority of his own troops over the 
forces of Britain at the battle of Monmouth, on the 28th 
of June, '78, when he had the unfpeakable pleafure of 
realizing the fruits of his indefatigable activity and dili- 
gence in forming them to fuch a perfection of military 
difcipline, courage and {kill, that they were able fuccefs- 
fully to contend with the braved foldiers in the world. 

BUT paffing over in filence a variety of interefting 
events and operations ; omitting to mention the detefta- 
ble plot, and vile defection of an Arnold, which have 
branded his name with everlafting infamy ; and to expa- 
tiate on the companionable fate of the haplefs and gene- 
rous Andre, and the painful regret which wounded the 
heart of our benevolent hero under the imperious ne- 
cefiity of putting that amiable youth to an untimely and 
diihonorable death j we haflen on to the clofmg and 
crowning operation of this long and calamitous war. 
The capture of Lord Cornwall is with his whole army, at 
York-Town, on the i9th of October, 1781, by the uni- 

ted forces of America and France, afforded the moft 
lively fatisfadion to the heart of our beloved hero, not 
only as it witnefled a decided luperiority of his troops 
over thofe of the enemy, an J crowned them and their Ge- 
neral with never-fading laurels ot victory and glory, but 
more efpecially as it furnimed ample ground of hope, 
that this long and difallrous war would foon be conclu- 
ded by an honourable and lading peace : a peace which 
would forever fecure to united America her Liberty, her 
Sovereignty and Independence The happy event offuch 
a peace, which had been the objed of all the wifhes and 
efforts of our hero, and which terminated his military 
career with felicity and glory, was compleated on the jd 
day of September, 1783. An event, the bleffmgs of 
which would probably never have been realized by the 
States of America, had it not been for the talents and 
virtues of their ineftimable Wafhington. It was an event, 
however, of which the happy fruits were in danger of being 
blaftedby the officers of the American army, when they 
difcovered that they were to be discharged without re- 
ceiving that compenfation for their fervices, which they 
juftly expected, and by the meafures which their refent- 
ment at fuch unworthy treatment, excited them to pur- 
fue, for obtaining fatisfadion to their juft demands. 

In this moft difficult and delicate conjnndure, all the 
powers and virtues of our hero's ioul were called fourth 
to a new train of objeds and exertions. But inftead of 
availing himielf of the difcontent and refentment of the 



army to ufurp the powers of government, and render 
himfelf the fovereign mafter of his country, a conduct to 
which an ambitious and afpiring mind would probably 
have been prompted, he employed the whole influence of 
his authority and addrefs, and of his intereft in the affec- 
tions of his officers, to calm their paffions and to fatisfy 
their minds that juftice would be done them by their 
much indebted country. 

THIS noble effort of juftice and benevolence to his mil- 
itary friends, and of refpecl and affection to the liberties 
and conflituted authorities of his country, ever facred 
and dear to his heart, was complcated in his farewell or- 
ders, in which, with all the dignity of a commander, 
and all the piety and affection of a father, he gave the 
mod falutary advice to his officers, and bid them a long 
and affectionate adieu. 

As thefe orders breathe an ardent and amiable fpirit 
of wifdom and goodnefs, of generous affection to his ar- 
my and his country, and of piety to his God, I cannot 
forbear citing a paragraph or two from fuch an excellent 
performance, as ftrongly exprefiive of the genuine cha- 
racter of his heart 

"A CONTEMPLATION" (fays the venerable Chief) 
" of the compleat attainment (at a period earlier than 
could have been expected) of the object for which we 
contended, againft fo formidable a power, cannot but in- 
fpire us with aftonimment and gratitude. The difad- 


( 24 ) 

vantageous circumftances on our part, under which the 
war was undertaken, can never be forgotten. The fin- 
gular interpofitions of Providence in our feeble condition 
were fuch as could fcarcely efcape the attention of the 
mod unobferving, while the unparalleled perfeverance of 
the armies of the United States, through almoft every 
poffible fuffering and difcouragement, for the fpace of 
eight long years, was little fhort of a (landing miracle." 
ct And the General being now to conclude with thefe 
Jaft public orders, to take his ultimate leave, in a fhort 
time, of the military character, and to bid a final adieu 
to the armies he has fo long had the honour to com- 
mand j he can only again offer in their behalf, his re- 
commendations to their grateful country, and his pray- 
ers to the God of armies. May ample juftice be done 
them here, and may the choiceft ot Heaven's favours, 
both here and hereafter, attend thofe who under the di- 
vine 'aufpices have fccured innumerable bleffings for 

" WITH thefe wiihes and this benediction, the Com- 
mander in Chief is about to retire from lervice. The 
curtain of ieparation is drawn, and the military fcene to 
him will be doled forever." 

Now from this general review of a long and compli- 
cated ferics of operations and events, various, intereft- 
ing and extending (rom one extremity of United Ameri- 
ca to the other, to Canada, to the ocean, and to the king- 
doms of the European world, mud we not be led to 


form the mod enlarged and exalted idea of the genii:'::, 
the talents and virtues of our mofl excellent Chief ? Of 
that invincible fortitude and courage which could fuftain 
his mind under fuch an accumulated load of labor and 
difappointments ? Of that amazing penetration, force 
of judgment, and flrctch of thought, which enabled 
him to look through fuch an endlefs variety of affairs, to 
give direction to fuch a multitude of movements, and 
to devife plans and mcafures for carrying into execution 
fuch vaft and numerous defigns ? The weight of our 
rifing Empire was laid upon his fhoulders, and he be- 
came the principal pillar in fupporting the liberty, the 
independence, the honour and fafety of our weftern 

LET no honeft and fcrupulous, but erring mindj let 
no heart, attempting to difguife far different fentiments 
under the fpecious covering of humility and piety, cen- 
fure the honours we pay to his memory as far tranfcend- 
ing the merit of a mortal j and tax us with idolatry in 
paying an homage to his virtues, which is due only to the 
perfections of his God. For we religioufly avow, and 
wifh to have it forever underftood, that we devoutly ac- 
knowledge his whole bright afTemblage of abilities, vir- 
tues and achievements, to have been given him from 
Heaven in tendernefs and mercy to thefe United States ; 
and to that original, inexhauflible fountain of being and 
happinefs, our unfeigned tribute of gratitude and praife, 
is, and ought to be ultimately, paid. Of this our humbte 
D Waj 

was himfelf deeply fenfible ; this he devoutly 
and uniformly confefled. And by a fingular humility 
and modefty, which, while it deprefled and annihilated 
his virtues and fervices in his own eyes, exalted them in 
the eyes of God and man, he, for a long time, con- 
founded the malignant eye of Envy, and awed to filencc 
her flanderous tongue. 

THUS our beloved hero, having finimed the numerous 
aiiu arduous labors of his military life, having refisned 

O O 

his cominifllon with a folemnity and dignity, and vvirh 
expreflions of gratitude and piety becoming a general 
and a chriftian, retired to the favourite pleafures and em- 
ployment of rural and dom.efi.ic life. 

AND here, if time would permit, we might view him 
exercifing, in the fhades of retirement, all the mild and 
amiable virtues of the gentleman, the citizen, the hui- 
bandman, the companion, the matter, the hufband and 
the friend. 

BUT from thefe domeflic and rural enjoyments, ever 
ineilimabiy dear to his heart, he was foon called forth by 
his afTecY:cnate and admiring country to a new feries of 
arduous and important labors. Chofen as a delegate, and 
elected to preiide in a convention affembled at Philadel- 
phia, in the month of May, 1787, for the purpofe of 
forming a con ft i tut; on of government for the United 
States, he contributed the whole force of his political 


knowledge and experience to the accompli foment of 
thatdefign. And when it was completed and ratified 
by a large majority of the ftates in the union, the wif- 
dom, the gratitude and efteem of his countrymen led 
them to elect him, by their unanimous Cuff rages, to pre- 
fide as their fupreme magiflratc, and to carry into exe- 
cution that coniYitution of government, which his talents 
and virtues had affifted to form. He entered upon the 
arduous work of this difficult and delicate adminiftration 
on the 3oth day of April, 1789, at the city of New- 
York. " The ceremony of his inauguration (lays a ce- 
lebrated writer) was performed in the open gallery of 
Federal Hall, in the view of many thoufand fpectators 
The oath was adminiflered by Chancellor Livingfton 
Several circumstances concurred to render the fcene un- 
ufuaily folemn The prefencc of the beloved Father and 
Deliverer of his Country The impreffions of gratitude 
for his pall fervices The vaft concourfe of fpedtators 
The devout fervency with which he repeated the oath. 
and the reverential manner in which he bowed to kils 
the facred volume Thefecircamftances, together with 
that of his being chofen to the mod dignified office in 
America, and perhaps in the whole world, by the unan- 
imous voice of more than three millions of enlightened 
freemen, all confpired to place this amongft the mod 
auguft and interefting fcenes which have been exhibited 
on the theatre of this globe." 

AND who, with any appearance of reafon or juftice, 
can venture to aflert, that the progress of his whole ad- 


ininifi ration was not anfwerable in wifdom, fidelity, and 
integrity to the grandeur, folemnity, and piety of this 
commencing ad ? To attempt a particular detail of the 
mod important meafures and tranfadions of this admi- 
nitlration, to fpccify the particular difplays of prudence, 
impartiality, firmnefs, and political ability, exhibited by 
the Prefident, in times the moft trying and critical, 
nmidft the intrigues and collifions of contending parties 
and rival interefts, and the dangerous and deluding influ- 
ence of foreign powers and domeftic factions, would be 
a tafk as far exceeding my abilities, as the bounds allot- 
ted to the preicnt performance. 

BUT can any perfon, even of a moderate {"hare of con- 
fideration, candour and judgment, fufped that this great 
man was drawn forth from a retreat, which he qffitres us 
himfelf, he had chofen with the fondefl predilection, and 
in his own flattering hopes, with an immutable decifion, 
as the afylum of his declining years $ a retreat that was 
rendered every day more necelfary, as well as more dear 
to him by the addition of habit to inclination, and of 
the frequent interruptions in his health to the gradual 
wafle committed on it by time can any perfon believe 
that this great man was thus drawn forth to alTume a 
itation of the higheft labor, difficulty and refponfibility, 
hy any other motives than a veneration and love for the 
voice of his country, and a pure and ardent zeal for the 
promotion of her deareft intereft, honour and happinefs ? 
And \yill not every one acknowledge that, from the long 


experiment which had been made of his virtues and a- 
bilities, they muft have juftly appeared to his countrymen 
more equal to the truft he confented to aflame, than 
thofe of any of his compatriots ? 

DID he nominate and appoint to Rations of fuperior 
importance men whofe political fentiments he knew to 
be different from his own ? This was an expreffion of 
the independence and impartiality of his heart, and was 
done from a generous preemption, arifing from his own 
confcious integrity, that they would be influenced by a 
facred regard to the honour and happinefs of their coun- 
try, and would facrifke their own private fentiments to 
the public good. 

AND will it not be acknowledged by every candid 
mind, that he clearly underftood, and faithfully confult- 
ed the benefit of his country, in taking, decidedly, a 
neutral ftation with regard to the contending powers of 
Europe, and in ftudioufly avoiding the calamity of being 
involved in the diftracling politics and deftruftive wars 
of the European Nations: and that while he flrenuoufly 
cultivated the friendfliip of each, he was rdigioufly 
faithful and afiiduous to acknowledge the claims, refped: 
the rights, and promote the intereft and honor of all ? 

IF his talents, his meafures and exertions, were, in 
any inftance, ineffectual to the execution of a tafk fo 
arduous and difficult, where is the man whofe talents 


( 30 ) 

and meafures would have fecured fuccefs ? Ant! if, in 
iome inftances, he was not fo happy as to gratify his 
own wifhes in fatisfying the defires and expectations of 
all his countrymen, fuch a failure cannot be ftrange ; to 
have avoided it, muft have baffled the powers of an an- 
gel, and never can be imputed to the want of ability or 
virtue in a man. And as his conduct in the adminiftra- 
tion of Government was full of dignity and excellence, 
fo unexampled an evidence of his modefty and modera- 
tion was exhibited in his voluntary retirement from the 
higheft ftation and firft honors of his country to the 
comparative filence and obfcuvity of a private life. And 
his affectionate zeal for the honor and happinefs of his 
countrymen, in prefent and future generations, was 
difplayed in that admired Legacy of moral and political 
wifdom and exhortation, which he bequeathed to them 
immediately before his retirement. 

ONE act more was neceflary tocompleat his characler, 
and to crown his moral, political and military virtues 
and glories with that height of perfection, to which 
they were deflined to arrive. And that aft he performed 
by a cheerful acceptance, from the hands of our moft 
worthy Prefident, of an appointment to the office of 
General and Commander in Chief of all the armies railed, 
or to be railed, for the fervice of the United States A 
principal deiign of raifing thefe armies, being to repel 
the apprehended attacks or invafions of a powerful and 
infidious enemy ; the General had " the boundlefs 


( 3' ) 

field of public a&ion, inceffant trouble and high ref- 
ponfibility," which fuch a defign muft comprehend, 
fully in view ; and his letter to the Prefident, announc- 
ing his acceptance, is altogether worthy of himfelf. It 
breathes the warmed fentimcnts of love to his country, 
the fulleft approbation of the firm, but pacific meafures 
of government, a juft and dignified indignation againft 
the bafe and infidious treatment of it, by its enemies, and 
a determined refolution to oppofe, with all his powers, 
their unrighteous and hoflile cefigns. 

<{ It was notpoflible," fays he, for me to remain igno- 
rant of of indifferent to, recent tranfadtions." Thefe 
tmn(a6lions he particularly recites, and then adds : Thefe 
could not fail to excite in me correfponding fentiments 
with thofe my countrymen have fo generally expreflcd 
in their affecYionate addrefles to you. Believe me. Sir, 
no one can more cordially approve of the ivife and prudent 
meafures of your adminijlra tion. They ought to injpii e uni- 
verfal confidence. Satisfied therefore that you have Jincere* 
ly wijhed and endeavoured to avert war, andexhaujledto the 
hjl drop the cnp of reconciliation, we can with pure hearts 
appeal to Heaven for thejujlice of our caufe ; and may con- 
fidently truft the final refult to that kind providence zvbo has 

heretofore, and Jo often^fignally favored the people of the U- 
niied States" 

" Thinking in this manner, and feeling how incum- 
bent it is upon every perfon, of every defcripticn to con- 
tribute at all times to his country's welfare, and efpecial- 

]y in a moment like the prefent, when every thing we 

hold dear and facred is fo ferioufly threatened ; I have 
finally determined to accept the commiflion of comman- 
der in chief of the armies of the United States." 

Yes, ye fons of America, ye officers and foldiers, who 
have enjoyed the happinefs and glory to fertre under his 
unrivalled command in former years of your country's 
danger, and are indiflulubly attached to him by the 
ftrongeil ties of gratitude, veneration and love Your 
beloved general had determined again to clothe himfelf 
in armour, and to expofe that venerable head, now 
grown grey and facred with labours, with years and with 
honors, to the hazards of the hofli'.e field, in defence of 
the liberty, the religion, the independence and glory of 
his country. How did your hearts exult in the prof- 
peel ? How did you already anticipate, in your imagi- 
nations, the idea of fuccefs and victory ? How did you 
feem to behold the defeat of your enemies, and the ter- 
ror and confufion which feized upon their fouls at the 
very fight of your Wamington ! 

BUT how can I venture toroufe you from the Reverie 
of this pleafmg dream ? The God of armies had ap- 
pointed him to a conflict of a far different kind. To 
contend with the only enemy by whom he could be van- 

{ 33 ) 

u Death ! great proprietor of all, 'tis thine 
To tread out Empires and to quench the Stars 1" 
Thine all-fubduing, unrelenting hand 
Has laid our precious Hero in the duft ! 
How dsep the wound infix 'd in every heart ? 

THE fighs ot forroW are as fincere as his virtues, and 
as extenfive as his fame Our churches are hung with 
fables, and every object feems clad with a garment of 
wo The countenances of the young and the fair have 
loft their fmiles j their faces are covered with a gloom, 
and their eyes fuffufed with tears Children lilp the 
praifes of Walhington, and weep that he is dead The 
hardy bofoms of ftatefmen and warriors are foftened with 
grief, and their manly eyes do not difdain to pour a tri- 
bute of tears on the grave of their own and their coun- 
try's father and friend Virtue and religion lament the 
lofs of their favourite fon And were any fo obdurate as 
riot to lament it, they might expect that the plains, the 
forefts and the rocks, which have witneflcd his virtues 
and achievments, would reproach their ftupidity by 
burfting into fighs and groans ! 

AND have not all the children of America reafon to 
tremble at the frown of Heaven, and look forward with 
anxious prefages to the calamities which may fucceed fo 
doleful an harbinger ? Should not each one lay his hand 
on his heart, and afk himfelf; Whofe fin has done this 
execrable deed ? Wai it mine ? Was it my fin whiff) has 
Jlain the father of my country ? let me tear the execrabk 
murderer forever from my heart And let me look to that 
E gracious 

( 34 ) 

gracious and holy Saviour, with penitence and hope, who 
calls me, in thefe loud accents of mingled difpleafure and 
mercy, to be humble, to reform, and to imitate, to the 
utmoft of my power, the virtue and the piety of that 
venerable man, whofe death I fo juftly deplore For 
though I mall never be able to referable their magnitude, 
yet I may hope to imitate their fincerity. 

AND thofe virtues, and efpecially that humble and un- 
affected piety, which was the bads and parent of them all, 
and which elevated, adorned and fanclified his other il- 
juftrious talents, accomplimments, and fervices, may not 
only ferve as an example for imitation, but prove a fourcc 
of confolation to our wounded fpirits. We may be con- 
foled with the animating confideration, that death has 
only hid his mortal clay to fleep for a feafon in the filent 
tomb ; but that every thing ufeful, amiable and venera- 
ble in his capacious foul, lives, and will live and fiourilh 
for ever in the happy climes of immortality 

AND thefe fuggeflions are not the incenfe of cuftomary 
flattery, offered on the altar of an illuflrious Tomb. 
For thofe, who had the moft intimate knowledge of the 
fentiments of his heart, and the actions of his private 
life, aflure us, that he was a ferious and exemplary be- 
liever of the truths and precepts of our holy religion ; 
that he was, fo far as their obfervations could determine, 
aconftant and humble performer of the duties of fecret 
retirement and devotion -, and that, in ail the trying 
fcencs and conjunctures of difficulty and diftrefs, with 
which he was called to encounter, he undoubtedly had 


( 35 ) 

teccurfe to God by prayer for fupport, defence and di- 
redion. Hence we more eafily account for the uniform 
conflancy, dignity and excellence of his character, which, 
like the face of Mofes, fhone with an amiable and ven- 
erable luftre derived from his fecret intercourfe with God : 
and for the ultimate, fignal fuccefs of his great defigns, 
feeing, for their accomp'.ifliment, he had engaged the 
alliance and afiiftance of heaven. And this fpirit of piety 
and devotion was evident in his humble and devout at- 
tendance on the facred ordinances of public wcrfliip and 
religion. A folemn acknowledgment of the fupreme do- 
minion of the moft High, of conftant dependence on his 
allwife and powerful Providence, and of great obligations 
to his infinite gocJnefs and mercy for all public and pri- 
vate benefits, were frequently introduced, with marks of 
cordial lincerity and fatisfadion, into iiich public ads, 
orders, and addreifes as were of a nature properly to admit 
of fuch an acknowledgment In the fpeech which he 
delivered to the fir ft Congrefs, under the new Conftitu- 
tion, he fays : " It would be peculiarly improper to 
omit in this firft official ad my fervent fopplicatioas to 
that Almighty Being, who rules over the univerfe, who 
prefides in the Councils of Nations, and whofe providen- 
tial aids can fupply every human defed ; that his bene- 
didions may confecrate to the liberties and happinefs of 
the people of the United States, a government inftituted 
by themfelves for thefe eflcntial purpofes, and may ena- 
ble every inftrument employed in its adminiftration, to 
execute with fuccefs the fund ions allotted to his charge. 
In tendering this homage to the great Author of every 
public and private good, I affure myfeif that it exprefics 


( 36 ) 

your fcntiments not lefs than my own ; nor thofe of my 
fel'ow citizens at large lefs than either. No people can 
be bound to acknowledge and adore the invifible hand 
which conducts the affairs of men, more than the people 
of the United States. Every ftep, by which they have 
advanced to the character of an independent Nation, 
ieems to have been diftinguifhed by fome token of pro- 
vidential agency. And in the important revolution juft 
accomplimed in the iyftem of their united government, 
the tranquil deliberations and voluntary confent of fo 
many diftin<5r. communities, from which the event has re, 
fulted, cannot be compared with the means by which 
mod Governments have been eftablifhed, without fome 
return of pious gratitude along with an humble anticipaT 
tion of the future bleffings which the pad feem to prefage. 
Thefe reflections arifing out of the prefent crifis, have 
forced themfelves too, ftrongly on my mind to be fuppreff. 
ed. You will join with me, I truft, in thinking there 
are none under the influence of which, the proceedings of 
a new and free Government can more aufpiciou% com* 
mence." In a following paragraph he adds: " There 
is no truth more thoroughly eftablimed, than that there 
exifts in the economy and courfe of nature, an indiflblu- 
ble union between virtue and happinefs ; between duty 
and advantage ; between the genuine maxims of an hon- 
eft and magnanimous policy, and the folid rewards of 
public profperity and felicity. And we ought to, be no 
Jefs perfuaded that the propitious fmiles of Heaven can 
never be expected on a nation that difregards the eternal 
rules of order and right, which Heaven itfelf has, ordain- 


( 37 } 

BOLD and uncharitable indeed mud be the lips* which 
will dare to infinuate, that, confidering the man, and the 
magnitude of the occafion on which he uttered thefe 
fentiments, they are not the effufions of a truly pious 
and magnanimous heart. 

AND thofe, who were fpe&ators and witncfles of the 
folemn fcene of his laft and expiring moments, allure U s, 
that they bore an exact correfpondence to the auguft 
and amiable tenor of his preceding life and actions ; that 
his foul was patient, ferene, and undaunted at the ap- 
proach of death, I bat he clofed bis mouth and eyes iviib Us 
own band, and expired without aflntggU and without agrcan ! 
O ! blefled man ! How haft thou fled forever from our 
fight ? But thy righteous name (hall be had in everlaft- 
ing remembrance ! Yet what is that to thee, if thou art 
fallen proftrate, funk and loft forever beneath the inexor- 
able Tiand of fate ? But can we, can we ever believe that 
the Many the Cbriftian, the Hero, the Saviour, the Father, 
the Eoajl and Delight of his country ; the bright affem- 
blage of every amiable aud exalted virtue, the example of good- 
tiffs and great nefs to the Citizen, the Soldier, the Statef- 
jnan and the General ; the favourite of his friends, the ter- 
ror of bis enemies, the glory rf his fpecies and the admiration 
of the world ; can we believe that he has funk into the 
drear}' abyfs of eternal nothingnefs and oblivion ? Can we 
believe that the man, whom many millions of his fellow- 
citizens lament with fighs of undilTembled forrovv, whom 
thoufands of furviving military aflbciatcs remember with 
reverence and Jove, and deplore with vivid emotions of 


painful regret, is forgotten by his God? And forever loft in 
" the common mafs of matter never dignified with life ?" 
If we could but fufpeft, that fuch were his myfterious Dsf- 
tiny> our tears might flow forever without hope of folid 
alleviation to our diftrefs Even his guardian angels 
might be fuppofed to weep over this dejtiny of their late 
delightful charge ! 

BUT they do not, they need not weep j for Faith, Hope, 
and Chanty faw them, though invifible to mortal eyes, 
fUnding in the attitude of fufpence, and waiting, with 
folemn expectation, around his dying bed ; tney beheld 
them receive his mortal fpirit, when fet at liberty from 
the ruins of its body, beneath the friendly covert of their 
wide-extended wings, and efcort it along the etherial 
road to the realms of light, and to the tribunal of its 
Redeemer and Judge; who gave to this his faithful fer- 
vant his full acquittance and applaufe, purged away the 
fpots and (tains of blamable infirmity and imperfection, 
which (till adhered to him as a fon of Adam's fallen race, 
and then adorned him with a crown of glory and a robe 
ot light* They fuw the faints, the holy martyrs, heroes 
and angels, thofe blefled inhabitants of the bright abodes, 
welcome this new-made angel to their blifsful fociety, as 
a partner and alTociate with themfelves in all that celeftial 
liberty, perfection, bleflednefs and glory which will beau- 
tify, improve and enrapture their immortal natures 
throughout all ages, world without end. 





<eorge Washington, 

On declining being confidered 




A HE period for a new election of a Citizen to admi- 
nifler the executive government of the United States, 
being not far diftant, and the time actually arrived, 
when your thoughts muft be employed in designating 
the perfon, who is to be clothed with that important 
truft, it appears to me proper, efpecially as it may con- 
duce to a more diflinci expreflfion of the public voice, 
that I mould now apprife you- of the refolution I have 
formed, to decline being confidered among the number 
of thofe out of whom a choice is to be made. 

I BEG you, at the fame time, to do me the juftice to 
be affured, that this refolution has not been taken, with- 
out a Uriel: regard to all the confederations appertaining 
to the relation which binds a dutiful citizen to his coun- 
try ; and that, in withdrawing the tender of fervice which 
filence in my fituation might imply, I am influenced by 
no diminution of zeal for your future intereft ; no defi- 

( 40 ) 

ciency of grateful refpeft for your pad kmdnefs : But 
am fupported by a full conviction that the ftep is com- 
patible with both. 

The acceptance of, anJ continuance hitherto in the 
office to which your fuffrages have twice called me, 
have been a uniform facrifice of inclination to the opini- 
on of duty, and to a deference for what appeared to be 
your defire. I conftandy hoped that it would have been 
much earlier 1 in my povvw, confidently with motives, 
which I was not at liberty to difregard, to return to that 
retirement, from which 1 had been reluctantly drawn. 
The ftrength of my inclination to do this, previous to 
the laft election, had even led to the preparation of an 
addrefs to declare it to you ; but mature reflection on 
the then perplexed and critical pofture of affairs with 
foreign nations, and the unanimous advice of perfons 
entitled to my confidence, impelled me to abandon the 

I REJOICE, that the ftate of your concerns external as 
well as internal, no longer renders the purluit of inclina- 
tion incompatible with the fentiment of duty or propri- 
ety : And am perfuaded whatever partiality may be re- 
tained for my fervices, that in the prefent circumftances 
of our country, you will not difapprove my determination 
to retire. 

THE impreflions with which I firft undertook the ar- 
duous truft, were explained on the proper occafion. In 
the difchargeof this truft, I will only fay, that I have 
\vithgood intentions, contributed towards the organiza- 
tion and adminiftration of the government, the beft ex- 
ertions of which a very fallible judgment was capable. 


Not unconfcious, in the outfet, of the inferiority of my 
qualifications, experience in my own eyes, perhaps ftill 
more in the eyes of others, has (lengthened the motives 
to diffidence of myfelf : and every day the increafmg 
weight of years admonilhes me more and more, that the 
{"hade of retirement is as neceflary to me, as it will be 
welcome. Satisfied, that if any circumftances have given 
peculiar value to my fervices, they were temporary, I 
have the confolation to believe, that while choice and 
prudence invite me to quit the political itfene, patrio- 
tifm does not forbid it 

IN looking forward to the moment, which is intended 
to terminate the career of my public life, my feelings do 
not permit me to fufpend the deep acknowledgment of 
that debt of gratitude,which I owe to my beloved coun* 
try, for the many honors it has conferred upon me ; flill 
more for the ftedfaft confidence with which it has fup- 
ported me j and for the opportunities I have thence en- 
joyed of manifefting my inviolable attachment by fervi- 
ces faithful and perfevering, though in ufefulnefs unequal 
to my Zeal. If benefits have refuhed to our country 
from thefe fervices, let it always be remembered to our 
praife,& as an inftru&ive example in ouf annals,that under 
circumftances in which the pafllons, agitated in every di- 
rection, were liable to miflead, arnidft appearances fome- 
times dubious,-^-vicifiitudes of fortune, often difcoura* 
ging in fituations, in which not unfrequently want of 
fuccefs has countenanced the fpirit of criticifm the 
conftancy of your fupport was the eltential prop of the 
efforts, and a guarantee of the plans by which they were 
effected. Profoundly penetrated with this idea I fhali 


( 4* ) 

cany it with me to my grave, as a ilrong Incitement to 
unceafing vo\\s, that Hssven may continue to you the 
choiceft tokens of its beneficence that your union and 
brotherly affection may be perpetual that the free Con- 
fUtuticn, v.hich is the work of your hands, may be fa- 
credly maintained that its adminiftration in every de- 
partment may be (lamped with wifdom and virtue 
that, in fine, the happinefs of the people of thefe ftates, 
under the aufpices of liberty, may be made complete, 
by fo careful a prefervation and fo prudent a ufe of this 
bleffing, as will acquire to them the glory of recommend- 
ing it to the applaufe, the affection, and adoption of ev- 
ery nation which is yet a ftranger to it. 

HERE perhaps, I ought to (lop. But folicitude for 
your welfare, which cannot end but with my life, and 
the apprehenfion of danger natural to that folicitude, 
urge me en an occafion like the prefent, to offer to your 
folemn contemplation, and to recommend to your fre- 
quent review, ibme fentiments which are the refult of 
much reflection, of no inccnfiderable cbfervation, and 
which appear to me all-important to the permanency of 
ycur felicity as a people. Thefe will be offered to you 
with the more freedom, as you can only feel in them 
the dilmtercfted warnings of a parting friend, who can 
pofllbly have no perfonal motive to bias his counfel. 
Nor can I forget, as an encouragement to it, your in- 
dulgent reception of my fentiments on a former and not 
diflimihr occafion. 

INTERWOVEN as is the love of liberty with every liga- 
ment of your hearts, no recommendation of mine is ne- 
ceflary to fortify or confirm the attachment. 

THE unity of Government which conftitutes you one 

( 43 ) 

people, is alfo now dear to you. It is juftly fo ; for it is 
.ain pillar in the edifice of your real Independence, 
the fapport of your tranquility at home, your peace 
abroad ; of yocr fafety ; of your profprrity ; of that very 
liberty which you fo highly prize. But, as it is eafy to 
forefee, that from different caufes and from different 
quarters, much pains wi!l be taken, m: em- 

ployed, to weaken in your minds the convict-on of this 
truth, as this is the point in your Icrtrefs, againfl 

which the batteries of internal and external enemies will 
be moft conftantly and (though often corertly 

and infidioufly) directed, it is of infinite moment that 
you Ih: perly eft. t immenfe value of your 

National Union, to your colle&ive and individual hap- 
pinefc j that you (hould cherifti a cordial, habitual and 
immoveabic attachment to it ; accuftoming your'e 
to think and fpeak of it as o: the piiladium of your po- 
litical iafety and prcfperity, watching ic: .ervation 
with jealous ar diicountenancing whatever may 
iuggeft even a lufpicion that it can in any event be aban- 
doned ; and indignantly frowning upon the firfl dawn- 
ing of every attempt to alienate any portion ot our coun- 
try from the reft, or to enfeeble the lacred ties which 
now link together the various parts. 

FOR this you have every inducement of fympalhyand 
interelL Citiz: birth or choice, of a common 

country, that country has a right to concentrate 
affections. The name of American, which belongs to 
you in your nations y, muft always exalt the juft 

pride of patriotifm, more than any appellation derived 
from local difcriminations. With flight fhade* of differ- 
ence you have the fame religion, manners, habits and 

( 44 ) 

political principles. You have in a common caufe fought 
and triumphed together ; the Independence and Liberty 
you pofiefs are the work of joint councils, and joint ef- 
forts, of common dangers, fufferings and fuccefles. 

BUT thefe confiderations however powerfully they ad- 
dr^fs themfelves to your fenfibility, are greatly out- 
weighed by thofe which apply more immediately to your 
inteieft. Here every portion of our country finds the 
moft commanding motives for carefully guarding and 
preferving the union of the whole. 

The North in an unreftrained intercourfe -with the 
South, protected by the equal laws of a common gov- 
ernment, finds in the production, of the latter, great ad- 
ditional refources of maritime and commercial enter- 
prife, and precious materials of manufacturing induftry. 
The South in the fame intercoude, benefitting by the 
agency of the North, fees its agriculture grow, and its 
commerce expand. Turning partly into its own chan- 
nels the fcamen of the North, it finds its particular na- 
vigation invigorated and while it contributes, in dif^ 
ferent ways, to nourifh and increafe the general mafs of 
the national navigation, it looks forward to the protec- 
tion of a. maritime ftrength, to which itfelf is unequal- 
ly adapted. The Eaft in a like intercourfe with the 
Weft, already finds, and in the progreflive improvement 
pf interior communications, by land and water, will 
more and more find a valuable vent for the commodities 
which it brings from abroad, or manufactures at home. 
The Weft derives from the Eaft fupplits requifite to its 
growth and comfort- and what is perhaps of ftill greater 
coniequence it mtift of neceffity owe the fecure enjoy- 
fiientpf indiipeniabje outlets for its own productions to 

( 45 ) 

the weight, influence, and the future maritime ftrength 
of the Atlantic fide of the union, directed by an indiflb- 
luble community of intereft as one nation. Any other 
tenure by which the Weft can hold this eflential advan- 
tage whether derived from its own feparate ftrength, or 
from an apoftate and unnatural connection with any 
foreign power, muft be intrinfically precarious. 

WHILE then every part of our country thus feels an 
immediate and particular intereft in union, all the 
parts combined cannot fail to find in the united mafs of 
means and efforts, greater ftrength, greater refource, pro- 
portionably greater fecurity, from external danger, a lefs 
frequent interruption of their peace by foreign nations; 
and what is of ineftimable value ! they muft derive from 
union an exemption from thofe broils and wars between 
themfelves, which fo frequently afflidl neighbouring 
countries, not tied together by the fame government ; 
which their own rivalfhips alone would be fufficient to 
produce, but which oppofite foreign alliances, attach- 
ments and intrigues would ftimulate and imbitter. 
Hence likevvife they will avoid the neceffity of thofe 
overgrown military eftablifhments, which under any 
form of government are inauipicious to liberty, and 
which are to be regarded as particularly hoftile to Re- 
publican Liberty : In this fenfe it is, that your union 
ought to be confidered as a main prop of your liberty, 
and that the love of the one ought to endear to you the 
prefervation of the other. 

Thefe confiderations fpeak a perfuafive language to 
every reflecting and virtuous mind, and exhibit the con- 
tinuance of the UKION as a primary object of a patriotic 
Uefire t Is there 3 doubt, whether a common govern- 

( 4 )' 

ment can embrace fo large a fphere ? Let experience 
iblve it. To liften to mere fpeculation in fuch a cafe 
were criminal. We are authorifed to hope that a pro- 
per organization of the whole, with the auxiliary agency 
of governments for the refpec~tive fubdivifions, will af- 
ford a happy iffue to the experiment. It is well worth 
a fair and a full experiment With fuch powerful 
and obvious motives to the union, affeding all 
parts of our country, while experiment fhall not have 
demonftrated its impracticability, there will always be 
reafon to diftruft the patriotifm of thofe, who in any 
quarter may endeavour to weaken its bands. 

In contemplating the caufes which may difturb our 
union, it occurs as matter of ferious concern, that any 
ground fhould be furnifhed for characlerifmg parties, by 
Geographical difcriminations Northern and Southern 
Atlantic and Weftern ; whence defigning men may 
endeavour to excite a belief, that there is a real differ- 
ence of local interefts and views. One of the expedients 
of party to acquire influence, within particular diftriifls, 
is to mifreprefent the opinions and aims of other dif- 
trifls. You cannot fhield yourfelves too much aga'mft 
the jealoufies and heart burnings which fpring from thefe 
mifreprefentations ; they tend to render alien to each 
other thofe who ought to be bound together by frater- 
nal affection. The inhabitants of our weftern country 
have lately had a ufetul leffon on this head : They have 
feen, in the negotiation by the Executive, and in the 
unanimous ratification by the Senate, of the treaty with 
Spain, and in the univerfal fatisfadlion at that event 
throughout the United States, a decifive proof how un- 
founded were the fufpicions propagated among them, of 

( 47 ) 

a policy in the general government and in the Atlantic 
States unfriendly to their interefts in regard to the Mif- 
fifippi ; they have been witnefles to the formation of 
two treaties, that with Great Britain and that with Spain, 
which fecure to them every thing they could defire, in 
refpeft to our foreign relations, towards confirming their 
profperity. Will it not be their wifdom to rely for the 
prefervation of thefe advantages on the UNION by which 
they were procured ? Will they not henceforth be deaf to 
thofe advifers, if fuch they are, who would fever them 
from their brethren, and connect them with aliens ? 

To the efficacy and permanency of your union, a gov- 
ernment for the whole is indifpenfabie. No alliances, 
however flrict between the parts can be an adequate 
iubftitute ; they will inevitably experience the infractions 
and interruptions which all alliances in all times have ex- 
perienced Senfible of this momentous truth, you have 
improved upon your firft efiay, by the adoption of a 
constitution of government better calculated than your 
former for an intimate union, and for the efficacious 
management of your common concerns. This govern- 
ment the offspring of your own choice, uninfluenced and 
unawed, adopted upon full inveftigation and mature deli- 
beration, completely free in its principles, in the diftri- 
bution of its powers, uniting fecurity with energy, and 
containing within itfelf a provifion for its own amend- 
ment, has a juft claim to your confidence and your fup* 
port. Refpecl: for its authority, compliance with its 
laws, acquiefcence in its meafures, are duties enjoined by 
the fundamental maxims of true liberty. The bafis of 
our political fyftems is the right of the people to make 
txnd to alter their conftitutions of government. But the 

' ** 

v 40 ; 

conftitution which at any time exifts, until changed by 
an explicit and authentic act of the whole people, is fa- 
credly obligatory upon all. The very idea of the power 
and the right of the people to eftablilh government, pre- 
fuppofes the duty of every individual to obey the eftab- 
lithed government. 

ALL obftructions to the execution of the laws, all com- 
binations and affociations, under whatever plaufible cha- 
racter, with the real defign to direct, controul, counteract 
or awe the regular deliberation and action of the confti- 
tuted authorities, are deftructive of this fundamental 
principle, and of fatal tendency. They ferve to organize 
faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force- 
to put in the place of the delegated will of the nation, 
the will of a party, often a fmall but artful and enter- 
prifmg minority of the community ; and according to 
the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the 
public adminittration the mirror of the ill concerted and 
incongruous projects of faction rather than the organ of 
confident and wholefome plans digefted by common 
councils and modified by mutual interefts. 

HOWEVER combinations or affociations of the above 
delcription, may now and then anfwer popular ends, they 
are likely in the courfe of time and things, to become 
potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious and un- 
principled men, will be enabled to fubvert the power of 
the people, and to ufurp for themfelves the reins of go- 
vernment ; deftroying afterwards the very engines which 
huve lifted them to unjuft dominion. 

TOWARDS the prefervation of your government, and 
the permanency of your prefent happy flate, it is requi- 
fite not only that.rou ft eadily difcountenance irregular 

( 49 ) 

t>ppofition to its acknowledged authority, but alfo fiidl 
you refill with care, the fpirit of innovation upon its 
principles, however fpecious the pretexts. One method 
of afiault may be to effect, in the forms of the conftitu- 
tion, alterations which will impair the energy of the 
fyftem, and thus to undermine what cannot be directly 
overthrown. In all the changes to which you may be 
invited, remember that time and habit are at lead as ne- 
ceffary to fix the true character of government, as ot ? 
other human inftitutions ; that experience is the fureft 
(landard, by which to telt the real tendency of the exift- 
ing constitution of a country that facility in changes 
upon the credit of mere hypothefis and opinion, expofes 
to perpetual change, from the endlefs variety of hypothe- 
fis and opinion j and remember, efpecially, that for the 
efficient management of your common intereft, in a 
country fo extenfive as ours, a government of as much 
vigor as is confident with the perfect fecurity of liberty 
is indifpenfable. Liberty itfelf will find in fuch a go- 
vernment, with powers properly diflribu ted and adjufted* 
its fureft guardian. It is, indeed, little elfe than a name, 
where the government is too feeble to withftand the en- 
terprifes of faction, to confine each member of the fociety 
within the limits preicribed by the laws, and to main- 
tain all in the fecure and tranquil enjoyment of the rights 
of perfon and property. 

I HAVE already intimated to you, the danger of parties 
in the ftate, with particular reference to the founding of 
them on geographical difcriminations; Let me now 
take a more comprehenfive view and warn you in the 
mod folemn manner againft the baneful effects of a fpirit 
f party, generally. G 

( 5 ) 

THIS fpirit, unfortunately, is infeparable from our na- 
ture, having its root in the ftrongeft paflions of the human 
mind. It exifts under different ihapes in all govern- 
ments more or Jefsflifled,controuJed, orreprelfcd ; but 
in thofe of the popular form, it is feen in its greateil 
fanknefs and is truly their worft enemy. 

THE alternate domination of one faction over another, 
fhaipened by the fpirit of revenge, natural to party dif- 
fention, which in different ages and countries has perpe- 
trated the moft horrid enormities, is itfelf a frightful def- 
potifm But this bads at length to a more formal and 
permanent defpotifm. The diforders and miferies,which 
refult, gradually incline the minds of men to feek fecurity 
and repofe in the abfolute power of an individual j and 
focner or later the chief of fome prevailing faction, more 
able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this 
difpofition to the purpofes of his own elevation, on the 
ruins of Public Liberty. 

WITHOUT looking forward to an extremity of this kind 
(which neverthelcfs ought not to be entirely out of fight) 
the common and continual mifchiefs of the fpirit of par- 
ty are fnincient to make it the intereft and duty of a 
wife people to difcourage and reftrain it. 

IT ierves always to dtftraft the Puplic Councils and 
enfeeble the Public Adminiflration. It agitates the 


community with ill founded jealoufies and falfe alarms j 
kindles the animofity of one part againft another, 
foments occafionally riot and in fur reel ion. It opens the 
door to foreign influence and corruption, which find a 
facilitated accefs to the government itfelf through the 
channels of party pafifans. Thus tue policy and will of 

one country are fubjected to the policy and will of Ano- 

THERE is an opinion that parties in free countries arc 
ufeful checks upon the adminiftration of the government, 
and Icrve to keep alive the fpirit of Liberty. This with- 
in certain limits is probably true, and in governments of 
a. monarchial caft, patriotifm may look with indulgence, 
if not with favour upon the ipirit of party. But in thofe 
of the popu)ar character, in governments purely elective, 
it is a fpirit not to he encouraged. From their natural 
tendency it is certain there will always be enough of that 
fpirit for every falutary purpofe. And there being con- 
ftant danger of excels, the effort ought to be by force of 
public opinion, to mitigate and affuage it. A fire not to 
be quenched ; it demands uniform vigilance to prevent 
its burfting into a flame, lead inftead of warming it fhould 

IT is important likewifc, that the habits of thinking 
in a free country, fliould infpire caution in thofe entruft- 
ed with its adminiftration, to confine themfelves within 
their refpective constitutional fpheres, avoiding in the ex- 
ercife of the powers of one department to encroach up- 
on another. The fpirit of encroachment tends to con- 
folidate the powers of all the departments in one, and 
thus to create, whatever the form of government, a real 
defpotifm. Ajuft eflirnate of that love of power, and 
pronene r s to abufe it, which predominates in the human 
heart is fufficient to fatisfy us of the truth of this pofition. 
Tho neceffity of reciprocal checks in the exercife of the 
political power ; by dividing and distributing it into dif- 
ferent depofitories, and conflituting each the guardian ot 
he public weal againft invafions by the others, has been? 

evinced by experiments ancient and modern j fome ef 
them in our country and under our own eyes. To pre-^ 
ierye them muft be as neceHary as to inftitute them. If, 
in the opinion of the people, the diftribution or modifi- 
cation, of the conftitutional powers be in any particular 
wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way 
\vhich the conftitution defignates But let there be no 
change by ufurpation ; for though this, in one inftance, 
may be the inftrument of good, it is the cuftomary wea- 
pon by which free governments are deftroyed The pre- 
cedent rnuft always greatly overbalance in permanent 
evil any partial or tranlient benefit which the ufe can at 
any time yield. 

Of all the diipofitions and habits which lead to polit- 
ical profperity, Religion and Morality are indifpenfable 
(upports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of 
patriotifm, who would labor to fubvert thefe great pillars 
of human happinefs, thefe firmed props of the duties of 
men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with 
the pious man ought to refpect and to cherifh them. A 
volume could not trace all their connections with private 
and public felicity. Let it fimply be afked, where is the 
lecurity for property, for reputation, for life, if the fenfe 
of religious obligation defert the oaths which are the in- 
flruments of investigation in Courts of Juflice ? And 
let us with caution indulge the fuppofition, that moral- 
icy can be maintained without religion. Whatever may 
be conceded of the influence of refined education en 
minds of peculiar ftructure, reafon and experience both 
forbid us to expeft that national morality can prevail in 

fion of religious princiffles. 
IT is {ubftantially true, that virtue or morality is a 

( 53 ) 

neceflary fpring of popular government. The rule in- 
deed extends with more or lels force to every Ipecies of 
free government. Who that is a fincere friend to it can 
look with indifference upon attempts to (hake the foun- 
dation of the fabric ? 

PROMOTE, then, as an object of primary importance, 
inftitutions for the general diffufion of knowledge. In 
proportion as the ftructure of a government gives force 
to public opinion, it is eflential that public opinion fhould 
be enlightened. 

As a very important fource of ftrength and fecurity, 
cherim public credit One method ofpreferving it is to 
u(e it as fparingly as poflible ; avoiding occafions of ex- 
pence by cultivating peace, but remembering alfo that 
timely dilburfements to prepare for dangers, frequently 
prevent much greater difburfements to repel it. Avoid- 
ing likewiie the accumulation of debt, not only by (hun- 
ning occafions of expence, but by vigorous exertions in 
time of peace to difcharge the debts which unavoidable 
wars may have occafioned, not ungeneroufly throwing 
upon pofterity the burthen which we ourfelves ought to 
bear. The execution of thefe maxims belongs to your 
reprefentatives, but it is neceffary that public opinion 
fhould co-operate. To facilitate to them the perform- 
ance of their duty, it is eflential that you mould practi- 
cally bear in mind that towards the payment of debts 
there muft be revenue , that to have revenue there muft 
be taxes and none can be devifed which are not more 
or lefs inconvenient and unpleafant that the intrinfic 
embarraflinent infeperable from the (election of the pro- 
per objects (which is always a choice of difficulties) 
ught to be a decifive motive for a candid ccnftruction 

t 54 ) 

of the conduct of the government in making it, and for 
a fpirit of acquiefcence in the meafures for obtaining re- 
venue which the public exigencies may at any time dictate. 

Obferve good faith and juftice towards all nations 
cultivate peace and harmony with all Religion and 
morality enjoin this conduct ; and can it be, that good 
policy does not equally enjoin it ? Jt will be worthy of 
a free, enlightened, and (at no diflant period) a great 
nation, to give to mankind the magnanimous and too 
novel example of a people always guided by an 
exalted juftice and benevolence. Who can doubt 
that in the courfe of time and things, the fruits of fucli 
a plan would richly repay any temporary advantages 
which might be loft by a Ready adherence to it ? Can 
it be, that Providence has not connected the permanent 
felicity of a nation with Virtue ? The experiment, at 
lead, is recommended by every fentiment which eno- 
bles human nature. Alas ! is it rendered impofiiblc 
by its vices ? 

In the execution of fuch a plan, nothing is more ef- 
fenfial than that permanent, inveterate antipathies againfl 
particular nations, and paffionate attachments for others 
Ihould be excluded ; and that in the place of them, juil 
and amicable feelings towards all (hould be cultivated. 
The nation, which indulges towards another an habitual 
hatred, or an habitual fondnefs, is in fome degree a 
flave; It is a Have to its animoftty or to its affedtion, 
either of which is fufficient to lead it aftray from its duty 
and its intereft. Antipathy in one nation againft ano- 
ther difpofes each more readily to offer infult and injury, 
to lay hold of flight caufes of u&brage, and to be hsugh* 

( 55 ) 

ty and intractable, when accidental or trifling occafions 
of difpute occur. 

Hence frequent coliifions, obftinate, envenomed and 
bloody conteits. The nation, prompted by ill will and 
refentment, fometimes impels to war the government, 
contrary to the bed calculations of policy. The gov- 
ernment fometimes participates in the national proper 
fity, and adopts through pafiion what reafon would re- 
ject ; at other times, it makes the animofity of the nation 
fubiervient to projects of hoftility inftigated by pride, 
ambition and other finifter and pernicious motives. The 
peace often, fometimes perhaps the liberty, of nations 
has been the victim. 

So likewife, a paffionate attachment of one nation for 
another induces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the 
favorite nations facilitating the illufion of an imaginary 
common intereft, in cafes where no real common intereft 
exifts, and infufing into one the enmities of the other, 
betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels 
and wars o( the latter, without adequate inducement or 
juftification. It leads alfo to conceffions to the favorite 
nation of privileges denied to others which is apt doubly 
to injure the nation making the conceffions ; by un- 
necefi-mly parting with what ought to have been retain- 
ed ; and by exciting jealoufy, ill-will, a difpofition to re- 
taliate, in the parties from whcm equal privileges are 
witheld : And it gives to ambitious, corrupted or de- 
Juded citizens (who devote themfelves to the favorite na- 
tion) facility to betray, or facrifke the inrerefts of their 
own country, without odium, fometimes even with pop- 
ularity ; gilding with the appearances of a virtuous fenfe 
cf obligation, a commendable deference for public opin- 

ion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the bafe or fool- 
iili compliances of ambition, corruption, or infatuation. 

As avenues to foreign influence in innumerable ways, 
fuch attachments are particularly alarming to the truly 
enlightened and independent patriot. How many op- 
portunities do they afford to tamper with domeftic fac- 
tions, to practice the arts of feduction, to miflead public 
opinion, to influence or awe the public councils ; fuch 
an attachment of a fmall or weak, towards a great and 
powerful nation, dooms the former to be the fatellits of 
the latter. 

AGAINST the infidious wiles of foreign influence (I 
conjure you to believe me, fellow citizens) the jealoufyof 
a free people ought to be conftantly awake; fince hiftory 
and experience prove that foreign influence is one of 
the mod baneful foes of Republican Government. 
But that jealouly to be uleful muft be impartial ; elfe it 
becomes the inftruoient of the very influence to be avoid- 
ed, inftead of a defence againft it. Exceffive partiality 
for one foreign nation, and exceffive diflike of another, 
caufe thofe whom they actuate to fee danger only on 
one fide, and ferve to veil and even fecond the arts of 
influence on the other. Real patriots who may refift 
the intrigues of the favorite, are liable to become fuf- 
pected and odious ; while its tools and dupes ufurp the 
applaufe and confidence of the people, to furrender their 

THE great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign 
nations, is in extending our commercial relations, to have 
with them as little political connection as poffible. So 
far as we have already formed engagements, let them be 
fulfilled with perred good faith. Here let us flop. 


( 57 ). 

EUROPE has a fet of primary interefh^ which to tig 
have none or a very remote relation. Hence Hie muft 
be engaged infrequent controverfies, the caufes of which 
are eflentially foreign to our concerns. Hence there- 
fore, it muft beunwife in us to implicate ourfelves, by 
artificial ties, in the ordinary viciffitudes of her politics, or 
the ordinary combinations and collifions of her friend- 
fhips, or enmities. 

OUR detached fituation, invites and enables us td 
purfue a different courfe. If we remain one people un- 
der an efficient government, the period is not far offj 
when we may defy material injury from external annoy- 
ance ; when we may take fuch an attitude as will caufei 
the neutrality we may at any time refolve upon, to be 
fcrupuloufly refpected ; when belligerent nations, under 
the impofiibility of making acquifitions upon us will not 
lightly hazard the giving us provocation -, when we may 
choofe peace or war, as our interefts, guided by juftice, 
fhall counfel. 

WHY forego the advantages of fo peculiar a fituation ? 
Why quit our own to ftand upon foreign ground ? 
Why, by interweaving our defliny with that of any part 
of Europe, entangle our peace and profperity in the toils 
of European ambition, rivalfhip, intereft, humour or 
caprice ? 

'Tis our tnae policy to fteer clear of permanent alli- 
ances, with any portion of the foreign world ; fo far, I 
mean,as we are now at liberty to do it : for let me not be 
underftood as capable of patronizing infidelity toexifting 
engagements. I hold the maxim no lefs applicable td 
public than to private affairs, that hontfty is always tht' 


( 58 ) 

beft policy. I repeat it therefore, let thofe engagements 
be obferved in their genuine fenfe. But in my opinion, 
it is unneceffary and would be unwife to extend them. 

TAKING care always to keep ourfelves, by fuitable ef- 
tablifhments, on a refpectabledefenfivepofture, we may 
fafely trull to temporary alliances for extraordinary e- 

HARMONY, liberal intercourfe with all nations, 
sre recommended by policy, humanity and intereft. 
But even our commercial policy Ihould hold an equal 
and impartial hand ; neither fending or granting exclu- 
five favors or preferences confulting the natural courfe 
of things ; diffunngand diverfifying by gentle means the 
ftreams of commerce, but forcing nothing ; eftablifhing, 
with powers fo difpofed, in order to give trade a ftable 
courfe to define the rights of our merchants, and to en- 
able the government to fupport them j conventional rules 
cf intercourie, the beft that prefent circumftances and 
mutual opinion will permit, but temporary, and liable 
to be from time to time abandoned or varied as experi- 
ence or circumftances fhall dictate ; conftantly keeping 
in view, that 'tis folly in one nation to look for difinter- 
efted favors from another : that it muft pay with a por- 
tion of its independence for whatever it may accept un- 
der that character; that by fuch acceptance, it may 
place itfelf in the condition of having given equivalents 
ibr nominal favors, and yet of being reproached with in- 
gratitude for not giving more. There can be no greater 
error than to expect, or calculate upon real favors from 
nation to nation. 'Tis an illufion which experience 
iriuftcure, which ajuft pride ought todifcard. 

( 59 ) 

IN offering to you, my countrymen, thefs counfels of an 
old affectionate friend, I dare not hope they will make 
the flrong and lading imprefiion I could wi(h that 
they will controul the ufual current of the paffions, or 
prevent our nation from running the courfe which has 
hitherto marked the defliny of nations : But if I may 
even flatter myfelf, that they may be productive of iume 
partial benefits, fome occafional good ; that they may 
now and then recur to moderate the fury of party fpirir, 
to warn againft the mifchiefs of foreign intrigue, to 
guard againft the impoftures of pretended patriotifm ; 
this hope will be a full recompsnfe for the folicitude for 
your welfare, by which they have been dictated. 

How far in the difcharge of my official duties, I have 
been guided by the principles which have been delinea- 
ted, the public records and other evidences of my con- 
duct muft witnefs to you and to the world. To my- 
felf, the aflurance of my own confcience is, that I have 
at lead believed myfelf to be guided by them. 

IN relation to the ftill fubfifting war in Europe, my 
Proclamation of the 22d April, 1795, is the index to my 
plan. Sanctioned by your approving voice, and by that 
of your reprefentatives in both Houfes of Congrefs, the 
fpirit of that meafure has continually governed me, unin- 
fluenced by any attempts to deter or divert me from it. 

AFTER deliberate examination, with the aid of the 
bed lights I could obtain, I was well fatisfied that our 
country, under all the circumftances of the caf.-, had a 
right to take and was bound in duty and intereft to take 
a neutral pofition. Having taken it, I determined, as 
far as (hou'.d depend on me, to maintain it with mo* 

THE con fiderat ions which refpect the right to hold 
this conducl, it is not neceffary on thisoccafion to detail. 
I will only obferve, that according to my understanding 
pi the matter, that right, fo far from being denied by 
any of the Belligerent Powers, has been virtually admit- 
ted by all. 

THE duty of holding a neutral conduct may be in- 
ferred, without any thing more, from the obligation 
\vhichjuftice and humanity impofe on every nation, in/ 
cafes in which it is free to ac~l, to maintain inviolate the 
Delations of peace and amity towards other nations. 

THE inducements of intereft for obferving that con- 
duct will beft be referred to your own reflections and ex- 
perience. With me, a predominant motive has been 
to endeavour to gain time to our country to fettle and 
mature its yet recent inftitutions, and to prcgrefs with- 
out interruption, to that degree of ftrength and confift- 
ency, which is neceffary to give it, humanly (peaking, 
the command of its own fortunes. 

THOUGH in reviewing the incidents of my adminiura- 
tion, I am unconfcious of intentional error : I am never- 
thelefs too fenfible of my defects not to think it probable 
that I have committed many errors. Whatever they 
may be, J fervently befeech the Almighty to avert or 
mitigate the evils to which they may tend. I (hall allo 
carry with me the hope that my country will never ceafe 
to view them with indulgence ; and that after forty- 
five years of my life dedicated to its fervice, with an up- 
right zeal, the faults of incompetent abilities will be 
configned to oblivion, as myfelf mud loon be to the 
manfions of reft, 

RELYING on its kindnefs in this as in other things, and 
actuated by that fervent love towards it, which is To na- 
tural to a man who views in it the native foil of himfelt 
and his progenitors for fevera) generations j I anticipate 
with pleafing expectation that retreat, in which I prom- 
ife myfelf to realize, without alloy, the fweet enjoyment 
of partaking in the midft of my fellow-citizens, the be- 
nign influence of good laws under a free government the 
ever favorite objecl: of my heart, and the happy reward 
as I truft, of our mutual cares, labors and dangers. 

yearae, rr a<sn 
<f J 

United States, i^tb September, 1796.